Texas is facing a foster care crisis as Gov. Greg Abbott's (R-TX) government has failed to secure safe homes for the 15,000 children in the system. A class-action lawsuit was launched after it was revealed that children were sleeping on the floors in offices or in hotels. Children were sexually abused, given the wrong medication, neglected and more, the Texas Tribune reported.
Appearing in court Tuesday, the Abbott official tried to answer questions but ultimately realized there was no justification for another failure," reported KXAN News.
"I understand you are trying, but it's not working," said U.S. District Judge Janis Jack told the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) Commissioner Jaime Masters.
Judge Jack already found that the state violated the constitutional rights of the children for placing them in unsafe homes or facilities. She listed reforms but Texas hasn't met them.
A report released this week revealed "501 children spent at least one night in an unlicensed placement in the first half of this year alone. Some children spent more than 100 consecutive nights without a "proper" placement. The report found that 86% of these children were teenagers, and many of them require intense or specialized care, due to serious mental health needs or past trauma, that they likely weren't receiving."
Texas also lost 1,600 beds since Jan. 2020 due to centers being closed.
"I'll remind you, the state has closed these facilities because they were not safe," the judge told Masters. "I've watched your PR campaign that the court, COVID and, most egregiously, these children in your care are to blame."
The judge went on to say that the crisis isn't new and that officials have "known for decades about the capacity crisis in the state for foster care children and not planned accordingly… Do something better for them, to keep them safe."
Masters confessed before the testimony that everything she says will "sound like an excuse."
Judge Jack agreed, saying, "I'm sure you have multiple excuses, but I don't want to hear them right now."
Masters said a major problem is the loss of psychiatric hospital beds and residential treatment centers.